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Coloring for Fun and Relaxation

backpackOh My!! The summer is drawing to an end and school is starting soon – or already has! New teacher or MANY new teachers, for some of you a new school, and new classmates, and the homework hasn’t even started yet! Time to relax, take a breath… and bring out the crayons, colored pencils, and coloring books!

coloring-clip-art-colored_pencils_on_paperYou may have noticed that coloring books aren’t just for children any more, adults are coloring also! So the selection of coloring books and sheets isn’t limited to simple and boring – beautiful flowers, stained glass windows, ethnic symbols, architectural designs, historical sites, national parks – if you want it, you can find it!

Of course you can create your own drawings and designs, and you can find many coloring sheets on the web. Here are some sites to check:

Google Images is a source of many coloring sheets; try the keywords ‘free clip art coloring pages’ and you can add ‘children’ or ‘safe’ to further narrow your search. You can also add a subject if you ‘re looking for something specific like ‘horses’ or ‘dogs’ or ‘dresses’ or ‘race cars’ or whatever you want. Just entering ‘coloring pages’ into Google Images brought up this interesting picture darth

Crayola has free pages, both to color on line and to print out. HelloKids.com allows you to choose your theme, and find almost 12,000 different pages to print and color! USA-Printables give you access to Famous People in U.S. History, Historic Places and Symbols in the U.S., Historic Events in U.S. History, the Fifty States, Presidents of the United States and Holidays and Special Days!

This can be a real full-family activity! So relax, color, stimulate your mind, and have FUN!


End of Summer Party!

Celebrate the end of summer before starting school!

Sushi sandwich:

Sandwich Sushi

  • One 3-ounce tuna packed in water
  • 1tbs of mayonnaise
  • Lemon
  • 2 slices of preferred sandwich bread


  1. Drain tuna. Stir in mayonnaise and lemon.
  2. Cut of crust from bread. Roll out bread until flatten.
  3. Spoon tuna in the middle of each slice bread. Tightly enclose the filling.
  4. Cut each roll into 4 pieces


Ice Cream Tacos:


  • Frozen waffles
  • 3 cup of preferred ice cream
  • Chocolate syrup (optional)
  • Maraschino Cherries (optional)
  • Whipped cream (optional)


  1. Lay frozen waffles flat on a cookie sheet and allow to thaw, about 10 minutes. Form each into a taco shape and fit together side-by-side in a baking dish.
  2. Fill each evenly with ice cream and a drizzle of chocolate syrup (optional). Freeze until firm.
  3. Top each with whipped cream and a cherry if desired.
  4. Keep frozen, allow tacos to sit for 5 minutes before ready to serve.



Summer of lost and found by Rebecca Behrens

 Summer of Lost and Found Follow Nell as she discovers the history of Roanoke. She finds to her surprise that history can be an adventure. Ages 10-15

Summer showers by Kate Hannigan ; illustrated by Brooke Boynton Hughes Cupcake Cousins Follow cousins Willow and Delia as their family grows as well as their responsibilities. The second book of the Cupcake Cousins series. Ages 8-12

My mixed-up berry blue summer by Jennifer Gennari

 My mixed up berry blue summer “Twelve-year-old June Farrell spends the summer at her Vermont home getting used to the woman her mother is planning to marry and practicing her pie-baking skills, as she hopes to win the blue ribbon at the fair” Ages 10-12


Read to the Beat!

It’s not too late to read and play the Summer Reading Game! Why not combine reading with the things you love most, like music!

Find biographies of some of your favorite artists at the Alameda County Library, like these:

ariana grandeAriana Grande by Sara Tieck

“Details the life and career of the actress and singer famous for her roles in such television series as ‘Victorious’ and ‘Sam & Cat’.”        [JB GRANDE,A]

austin mahoneAustin Mahone by Marie Morreale

“Chronicles the life and career of the singer, from his childhood in Texas to his own EP release.”        [JB MAHONE,A]

taylor swiftTaylor Swift by Marie Morreale

“Find out how Taylor Smith went from living on a Christmas tree farm to playing sold-out stadium shows for her loyal fans, also known as Swifties. Also learn how Taylor got her start and what she has planned for the future.”     [JB SWIFT,T]

adeleAdele: Soul Music’s Magical Voice by Matt Doeden

“When she was only 19 years old, Adele released her first single, “Hometown Glory.” Two years, two albums, and a lot of heartbreak later, she swept the 54th Grammy Awards, winning all six categories for which she was nominated.”         [JB ADELE]

zendayaZendaya: Capturing the Stage, Screen, and Modeling Scene by Heather E. Schwartz

“You may know Zendaya from the Disney Channel’s Shake It Up. But did you know that she:
• danced in a hip-hop group when she was eight years old?
• was the youngest contestant ever on Dancing with the Stars—and she earned second place?
• hopes to have her own fashion line someday?”      [JB ZENDAYA]


music swirlMusic-notes-clip-art-Great reads while you are listening to your favorite music!


Funny Fridays: Chapter Books

Check out this list of chuckle-worthy chapter books for elementary-aged readers:



parentThe Parent Agency: Pick Your Perfect Mom and Dad

by David Baddiel






galaxyGalaxy’s Most Wanted #3: Starship Bloopers

by John Kloepfer






ivySomebody Stop Ivy Pockey

by Caleb Krisp






moviePete Milano’s Guide to Being A Movie Star
by  Tom Greenwald







publicJasper John Dooley #6: Public Library Enemy #1
by Caroline Adderson






attaBarftastic life of Louie Burger #3: Attack of the Girlzillas

by Jenny Meyerhoff

Crafty Summer Fun

You still have plenty of time to read and play – and WIN! – the Summer Reading Game. Reading non-fiction counts just like reading and listening to stories so why not combine reading with other kinds of fun! You can find lots of books on crafts and crafting, and here are a few:

made with dadMade With Dad: From Wizards’ Wands to Japanese Dolls, Craft Projects to Build, Make, and Do with your Kids by Chris Barnardo

Made With Dad features fifty unique, fabulous projects for fathers to make with their children. Projects include everything from samurai swords to pocket-size dolls, wizard wands to paper zoos. All projects can made from affordable, easy-to-find items often regular household ones already owned. Full-color photographs, line drawings, and detailed instructions provide an easy, visually lush, and family friendly manual.”             [J745.5 BARNARDO]

mason jar craftsMason Jar Crafts for Kids: More Than 25 Cool, Crafty Projects to Make for Your Friends, Your Family, and Yourself! by Linda Z. Braden

“Mason jars are no longer just for canning. Today we use them to drink from, to cook inside, and with almost limitless possibilities to craft with. In this fabulous new book, Linda Braden, author and owner of MasonJarCraftsLove.com and ItAllStartedWithPaint.com, offers up a collection of fun and creative Mason jar crafts for kids. Her ideas include everything from wild science experiments and delicious edible treats to holiday decor and gifts for the whole family. Kids won’t want to miss the fireworks in a jar or the lava lamp jar projects. And who could resist a Mason jar cupcake or a rainbow Jell-O jar? There are instructions for how to make your own lantern jars, snow globes, and even a Mason jar terrarium. This book will keep little hands busy all year round, with dozens of easy do-it-yourself projects.”             [J745.5 BRADEN]

outdoor craftsOutdoor Crafts: Lots of Fun Things to Make and Do Outside

“A collection of fun, beautiful projects that children can make and do outside,Outdoor Crafts incorporates natural materials that children can find in their backyard, or that they’ve grown themselves in a garden or pot.

“The book is divided into three sections — Make It, Cook It, and Create It. In Make It, children can create labels for the garden, decorate flower pots, and make a scarecrow. In Cook It, children can get recipes for muffins, blueberry cheesecake, lemon ices and more using the crops from their garden. And finally in Create It, readers can learn to make a path in their garden, make paper from corn and more. In Outdoor Crafts the projects are complete with easy-to-follow instructions and step-by-step photography so that kids of all ages can take part and create wonderful crafts they’ll be proud to display.”         [J745.5 OUTDOOR]

fabric paperFabric Paper Thread: 26 Projects to Stitch with Friends by Kristen Sutcliffe

“After learning just a few simple crafting and sewing techniques, kids can make 26 modern projects to use, wear, give, and brighten their spaces. Kristen Sutcliffe’s Fabric • Paper • Thread shows how to transform tee shirts, tote bags, and more into unique pieces using embroidery stitches, super simple appliqué, and basic machine sewing. No matter whether kids are super crafty or have never even picked up a needle and thread, they’ll find something they just have to make. They can craft a fabulous necklace, a cute cover for a boring notepad, or a chic bracelet in no time!”               [J745.54 SUTCLIFFE]

Back to School

It’s that time again! Sometimes adjusting back into school mode is a little difficult after a long summer break, but here are some books to help you prepare.

Aug16 - back to school



Daddy’s Back-to-School Shopping Adventure

By Alan Lawrence Sitomer

A family goes back-to-school shopping, but they have trouble sticking to the list when there are so many cool things to buy.



How Oliver Olson Changed the World
By Claudia Mills

Afraid he will always be an outsider like ex-planet Pluto, Oliver finally shows his overprotective parents that he is capable of doing great things without their help.

Summer Fiesta


Simple Guacamole Dip

Feeds 6

Sometimes, simple is the best way to feed hungry kids. The whole gang will enjoy this refreshing appetizer.



  • 4 ripe avocados, peeled halved and pitted
  • 1 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice (fresh squeezed)
  • Queso fresco for garnish
  • Add ons: red pepper flakes, cilantro
  • Tortilla chips


  1. Scoop avocado pulp into a mixing bowl.
  2. Sprinkle with salt and mash with a fork until almost smooth.
  3. Stir in lime juice and any preferred add-ons.
  4. Sprinkle queso fresco liberally for garnish.
  5. Serve with tortilla chips.


Mexican Pizzas

Feeds 4-6

This simple meal will have the whole family asking for seconds.



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 TBSP taco seasoning
  • 1 can refried beans
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 4 flour tortillas
  • Salsa and sliced avocados for serving


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Brown meat on stovetop until cooked through
  3. Stir in taco seasoning to meat
  4. Heat refried beans in microwave for 30 seconds to soften
  5. Lay tortillas on cookie sheet
  6. Spread refried beans onto tortillas
  7. Top with cooked meat and shredded cheese
  8. Bake pizzas for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted and tortilla crispy
  9. Serve with salsa and avocados



Fun with Mexican Cooking by Karen Ward

mexican cooking

This bright and colorful book is a great way to introduce kids to Mexican food and Mexican cooking. Includes simple, step-by-step instructions, accompanied by photographs, for making chocolate mexicano, guacamole, churritos, and many more delicious Mexican


Mexican Food by Sarah Gilbert

mexican gilbert

Learn about Mexican culture, cooking tools and fun recipes to share with your family.


Traditional Crafts from Mexico and Central America by Florence Tempko

traditional crafts

Provides instructions on how to make traditional Mexican and Central American handicraft such as metal ornaments, tissue paper banners, and Guatemalan worry dolls







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